Viper Racing (PC) Hands-on Preview
Viper Racing introduces a new approach to racing sims - the inclusion of only one car, the Dodge Viper. Headed by former owner/developer for Papyrus, Rich Garcia, Viper Racing offers several unique and revolutionary features.
- First Sierra Sports racing title to incorporate an arcade mode
- Supports all next-generation 3D hardware
- Allows drivers, in career mode, to earn money, upgrade cars, and progress thru 3 different classes
- Real dashboards for the Viper and Viper GTS-R
- Full-featured paint kit
- Multiplayer, including handicapping so all skill levels can compete together
- Free movement throughout the course - no walls
- Advanced AI, using the same control tools as the player.
Sierra sent out an alpha copy of the game, and these are my initial impressions.
-Graphics: Overall, the graphics are very good. The cars look great, backgrounds are nice, and the smoke and skidmarks add a lot to the experience. With the detail set to about 2/3, and all special effects on, I had no trouble with framerates, even with 7 AI cars on the track. The only glitches I noticed were that the cars seemed slightly out of scale (too small), and even with the roof caved in the in-car view was unobstucted. Very minor things, in my opinion.
-Sound: The tire squeal may be a bit loud, but the engine note and crash sounds are great. A solid effort here.
-Driving model: I've never driven a Viper at or near the limit, but in simulation mode I can believe this is what it would be like. MGI has done a lot of work to model the car's behaviour, and in my opinion it has paid off handsomely. The damage model is the best I've seen, the AI behave as well as any short of Grand Prix Legends, and the overall experience is rewarding and fun.
-Miscellaneous: The addition of having to earn money to buy upgrades is terrific. I've been hoping for something like this, and Sierra delivered in spades. Another nice feature is the paintkit, complete with templates, numbers, and decals. Very well done.
-Overall: The racing sim genre has had a lot of entries the past several months, and it is getting progressively harder to stand out. Viper Racing accomplishes this with good graphics, a stellar car model, and some innovative features. I can't wait to get my hands on the final version of this sim.
By: Scott Moore 10/4/98
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